Cradle of Filth
Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay

After completely gutting and then revamping the line up, Dani Filth seemed invigorated for the surprisingly good Hammer of the Witches back in 2015, and that renewed energy has carried over into the follow up, the darkly seductive, 12th album, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. A tale of Victorian debauchery, magick, death, the afterlife and Gothic, supernatural  horror.

I’m immediately reminded of 1998s Cruelty and the Beast as the story seems more female focused and driven, which also benefits Lindsey Schoolcraft who has a larger role above and beyond her sweeping keyboards, delivering a few more Sara Jezebel Diva-ish monologues (Leave’s Eyes Liv Kristen also lends a helping hand on “Vengeful Spirit”).

Of course, this is still Dani’s show,  and he, again sounds as good as he ever has and lyrically still delivers the verbose, sensual, erotic goods. The album’s 8 lengthy (except for the two minute opener “Exquisite Torment Awaits”) tracks make for 52 minutes of classic sounding, earlier Cradle of Filth. The Scott Atkins production provides some consistency sounding as polished and crisp as the prior efforts, and Lindsey Schoolcraft , as I mentioned earlier seems to be settling in more and has a more comfortable, larger role.

True opener (and first single) “Heartbreak and Seance”, again seems to imbue Cruelty and The Beast in its pace and mood, with a very well done choral chorus and great closing solo. Second track, “Achingly Beautiful”, is one of the album’s standouts, and one of the best Cradle Songs of the last few albums, with an alluring chorus and haunting sway amid the torrid intensity. “Wester Vespertine” is another fine track with an intense, thrashing main riff and Lindsey Schoolcraft delivering a perfect Jezebel Diva impression and some nice lead work again from ex Root guitarist Ashok.

The other wise  OK title track has a nice melodic trot and “Vengeful Spirit” hacks and slashes with Liv Kristen adding a few gorgeous vocal bridges. “You Will Know the Lion by His Claw” is another fine track , with  a great chorus amid the album’s most furious track (and filth is completely unhinged at its end). The 8 minute closer , “Death and the Maiden” (there’s that female narrative imbuing Cruelty  again), ends the album on a more somber, controlled note, and initially comes across as a more Nymphetamine styled weaker track, but a late extended  solo saves the track.

I’d put Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay right next to Hammer of the Witches as far as quality. It’s better than the Thornography through Manticore era and continues a long running and much maligned band’s successful and surprising rebirth.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 11th, 2017

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